A new Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) campaign is calling on the federal government to ensure the real heroes of the COVID-19 crisis – workers – are recognised and protected.
IEUA-QNT Assistant Secretary Brad Hayes said the global pandemic had put the spotlight on the essential role of workers and especially those on the frontlines of the crisis – including education employees.
“COVID-19 has affected us all and it’s school employees and other frontline workers who have carried Australia through this time,” Brad said.
“While so far the non-government education sector has been generally protected from the economic pain already being felt by so many other sectors, sadly this is not true for our colleagues working across Australia – from the healthcare industry to retail and most notably hospitality and tourism.
“In our sector we know of staff who have already suffered cuts in hours and hundreds of our members were stood down without pay earlier this year.
“Some independent schools continue to access JobKeeper wage subsidies – and the situation is much more precarious for those working in the VET and ELICOS sectors.
“That’s why our union has joined the national ACTU campaign For the Workers to tell politicians and the federal government that we will NOT accept cuts to the wages and working conditions of Australian workers.
“If this crisis has shown us anything, it is that we are all connected and that we are all stronger together.
“We must stand up for our colleague workers whether they work in our sector or not – because workers’ rights belong to all of us.
“While we have had success winning paid pandemic leave across many schools, our economic future remains uncertain and volatile.
“Politicians of all persuasions must recognise that frontline employees have been the real heroes of this crisis and that they won’t heal the economy by hurting workers,” Brad said.
Members can take the first step in supporting the For the Workers campaign by signing the online petition now at https://fortheworkers.australianunions.org.au